THE popular giant hare sculptures which proved a big draw around North Berwick this summer have been auctioned off, raising more than £115,000 for Leuchie House.

The grand auction of the 11 sculptures took place at the town's Marine Hotel to raise money for the respite care centre on the outskirts of North Berwick.

The hares, commissioned to mark Leuchie’s 10th anniversary as an independent charity, delighted people of all ages as part of the The Big Hare Trail this summer.

And they were in high demand as generous bidders dug deep to support the work of Leuchie, which provides expert care and a holiday experience to people affected by neurological conditions such as MS, stroke and MND.

One of the most popular giant statues was ‘Hare Tae Golf’, which was found at the West Links, having earlier made a cameo at The Renaissance during the Scottish Open.

Chris Rutterford’s eye-catching creation was sold for £22,000 – one of five hares that went to new homes for five-figure bids.

As well as the 10 hares that featured on this year’s trail, a blank ‘Mystery Hare’ went under the hammer at the end of the auction for £15,100, and one of the artists will complete a bespoke edition for the successful bidder.

Broadcaster Glenn Campbell, host for the evening, said: “Congratulations to all the lucky bidders and Leuchie has asked me to pass on a very sincere thank you for your support.

"To put this into perspective, this funding could pay the salaries of four specialist nurses for an entire calendar year.”

Thanking the local businesses who sponsored the hares, he added: “This all began with a leap of faith that was taken by a number of businesses and organisations to sponsor The Big Hare Trail in the midst of a pandemic.

"Without these sponsors, this event would not have been possible."

Stephen Pearson, chair of Leuchie House, said: “The hare trail has also been an ambitious project and, as we celebrate our 10th birthday this year, the board and the team are ambitious to do more, for more people, in the years ahead.”

Graeme Scougall, from Paisley, a regular guest at Leuchie, was one of the guests of honour on the night. Graeme was diagnosed with MS six years ago at the age of 45.

Lana Bambridge, Leuchie’s head of fundraising and development, said: “We’re pleased that the hares have captured the hearts of the local community.

"Every penny raised from the auction will help us to continue to support families who are in desperate need of a break from caring, especially in the wake of the pandemic.”